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Volume 406: debated on Wednesday 11 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will list the actions his Department, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies are taking to comply with the requirements of the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002; whether he has made an estimate of the cost of compliance; and if he will make a statement. [117707]

The FCO maintains an asbestos register, based on the HSE's recommended "Type 2" non-destructive surveys, for all buildings on its UK estate and, through its facilities managers and accredited subcontractors, inspects buildings for asbestos containing materials (ACMs). Where such materials are identified we institute Standard Operating Procedures to ensure that future operations are carried out within the requirements of the Regulations. The cost of compliance to date has been £81,500.Overseas, we have for many years maintained registers of known or suspected ACMs on our estate identified through building works and property inspections. We intend to survey and produce management plans as prescribed by the Control of Asbestos at Work Regulations 2002. We have recently completed pilot trials in five Eastern European Posts where workplaces and domestic accommodation were surveyed. The objective of the pilot exercise is to refine the scope of the surveys, estimate costs and develop a prioritised programme for the rest of the overseas estate.